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FROG ():

The Hebrew term generally occurs in the plural; twice only in the singular as collective, once with (Ex. viii. 2) and once without (Ps. lxxviii. 45) the article. Frogs are mentioned in the Bible only in connection with the plagues of Egypt (Ex. vii. 27-viii. 9; Ps. lxxviii. 45, cv. 30). The common frog of Egypt is the edible frog (Rana esculenta), essentially a water-frog. It abounds in all the streams of that land, and is quite common in Palestine also. It is probably the species which the author of the narrative of the plagues had in view. There is also in Palestine and in Egypt a small species of tree-frog (Hyla arborea), only one and a half inches long. Like the common frog of Egypt, it is edible, and its color is green, a feature common to all edible batrachians. As coming under the category of "shereẓ" (Lev. xi. 10), the frog must have been held by the Hebrews as unclean for food (see Animals; Dietary Laws). According to the Talmud, contact with frogs does not defile (Ṭoh. v. 1). On the singular with article ("ha-ẓefardea'," Ex. viii. 2) see Sanh. 67b.

Bibliography:
  • Tristram, Fauna and Flora of Palestine, pp. 159-161, London, 1884;
  • Lewysohn, Zoologie des Talmuds, pp. 231-232, 369.
E. G. H. H. H.
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